Friday, November 21, 2008

Killer Robots Coming Soon!

It's curious that just hours before I watch the 2004 movie I Robot for the first time, which is screening on Channel 7 in Sydney tonight, that I should receive an AlterNet article by Scott Thill called Are Pentagon Nerds Developing Packs of Man-Hunting Killer Robots? in my email in-box. Go figure! The article explains that:
... the "Multi-Robot Pursuit System" would need "a software and sensor package to enable a team of robots to search for and detect human presence in an indoor environment." The robots would be led by a human commander using "semiautonomous map-based control." For good measure, the offer added that there "has also been significant research in the game-theory community involving pursuit/evasion scenarios." According to the offer, the robots should weight a little over 200 pounds apiece, and there should be three to five of them assigned to their human overlord.

The superficial logic at work in this curious merge of machine and flesh dictates that this speculative pack of robots would greatly reduce the human danger inherent in hunting down armed or violent persons hiding indoors. After all, robots are used today to detect and detonate incendiary devices; in fact, those very robots were evolved, armed and deployed to Bagdad, where they are currently awaiting orders to fire. The Pentagon's future robot pack is just the next inevitable step in that human evolution ... If a robot is smart enough to detect bombs, it's smart enough to hunt down enemies. Give it a gun and count the saved lives on reality TV.
I don't know whether to be scared or grateful...

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